Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Observation Updates: Rivertown Crossings Mall

Update to list below with additional observations, thoughts
17.  Who and what: Adolescents not so separated by race, there were many mixed groups
Now what? I need to be careful not to make assumptions about a student's parents; they many not all be the same race--could be two different races of parents, could be adopted.  In fact, kids could be being raised by grandparents, or aunts and uncles, cousins...
18.  Who and what: Almost all of the workers were white
Now what? Why was this the case?  Do whites have more access to transportation to get to a job?  Are Latinos and blacks not able because they have responsibility jobs at home taking care of siblings?  Do they work at other jobs closer to home?  Do they take the public transit buses to the mall more than others?
19.  Who and what: The great majority of the shoppers are white and in high school, some middle schoolers.
Now what? Do the white families tend to have more money?  If so, would the Latinos shop more if they had the money?
20.  Who and what: Pac-Sun, Charlotte Ruse, Hollister, Ambercrombie & Fitch, and Spencers are stores teens shop at; one girl shopped at Younkers
21.  Who and what: All of the girls and boys looked nice, dressed to look good at the mall
Now what?  It seems that most teens care about their appearance
22.  Who and what: Very few parents with teens in the evening (Fridays) 
Now what? The mall is a big hangout for teens in the afternoon, but much more so in the evenings.  Is this a place that parents are comfortable letting their teens go to because they think it is a safer place than other places?  Malls have a lot to offer: food, drinks, stores to browse or shop, theatres, air-conditioning.  It is obvious that friends are important--they are very social creatures.  :)
23.  Who and what: It appeared that whites wore the more obvious name brands than other races
Now what?  Is this because they have more money?  or are some races more materialistic than others?  Do I make judgments based on the clothing I see others wear?
24.  Who and what: A few white middle school girls were dressed like they were older than they were; makeup, skimpy tops, very short denim shorts.  They both wiggled their rears to the max.  This really bothered me.
Now what? Girls begin young trying to attract attention to their faces and bodies.  Though as an adult it concerns me that they are attracting the wrong kind of attention as well as attention from those they are not intending to attract, I guess I need to step back when I see this and consider why they are doing it.  They want to be more mature and grow up, they want to have a boyfriend, they are trying to build their self-confidence, and they may actually think this is what they should do and they think that they look good and mature doing it. 
25. Who and what? Latino girl that looked like she was in high school.  She had a baby, stroller, diaper bag, etc.  She was there with a friend or sister close in age.
Now what? How common is teenage pregnancy and having babies in the Godfrey-Lee district?  How important is getting married young and starting a family? Is this something that is important in their culture? Can I inspire females to get a higher education before and even after having children?  Can I give them the impression that it is ok to do both? 

What do I know from the observations at Rivertown Crossings Mall?
1.     Who and what:  Adolescents like to hang out at the mall as couples, threesomes, groups, and with family. The central meeting area is the food court and most of them eat together and or visit. 
Now what?  The mall is a place that all age groups and family members go to.  This seems to be an acceptable and fun outing for families of all ages and races.  They share common ground and interests here.
2.   Who and what: Big family groups with black and Latino.  Did not see this with Asians.  Small white family groups (especially with Moms and often with Grandmas as well). 
Now what? Blacks and Latinos appear to have bigger families and bring siblings along with them.  Whites and Asians appear to have smaller families.  Why didn't I see more Asian families at the mall?   
2.      Who and what: Most have cell phones or smart phones.
Now what?  Cell phones are common to everyone.  How prevalent are the smart phones?  I am told most have access to smart phones.  Therefore, this would be a good technology tool to use in lessons to grab attention and motivate students to do work and learn more.
3.      Who and what: Younger (middle schoolers) are more active, louder, and playful.  The boys tend to wear hats.  When the group separates to explore the mall or stay behind, they separate by genders (males together, females together), then come back together as a mixed group.
Now what? Teaching middle school students may be more of a chore in the sense of getting them to sit still and listen. They have a lot of energy and probably need to move around a lot.  What can teachers do to keep them from fidgeting and being interruptive?
4.     Who and what:  High school students hang out as couples; not so much with middle school;
Now what? Boyfriend/girlfriend relationships are very important to teens; perhaps I need to keep in mind that it isn't only family babysitting obligations that are keeping students from doing homework--maybe they are smitten and want to spend all of their free time with the boy or girl they are in a relationship with.
5.      Who and what: Even at the mall students may be bored as evidenced by a few middle school girls while the boys were away.
Now what? This is a sure sign that we as teachers have to work really hard to make things interesting enough to keep students' attention.
6.      Who and what: It seemed to me that the groups or trios were primarily comprised of the same race
Now what? Some groups associate by race, and further observations show that they are also mixed.  I cannot make quick assumptions.  Do I even need to make assumptions?  Why would/should this be important to me?  To watch for certain groups aggregating and picking on other groups (especially when racially homogenous)?  But this wouldn't apply just to race--it could be popular kids picking on those they don't feel are like them, etc.
7.      Who and what: High school girls like shopping at Charlotte Ruse.
8.      Who and what: High school and middle school boys shop at Pac Sun and Abercrombie and Fitch.
9.      Who and what: Most purchases were made by students in high school.
Now what? Because more of them have jobs?  They are given more allowance and more freedom? 
10.  Who and what: Group of 3 Latino high school boys wearing non-name brand clothing.
Now what? As addressed above: is this because they have less money and/or are less materialistic?
11.  Who and what: All ages and sexes like going to movies.
Now what? Everyone likes movies.  Talking about or using something about movies can elicit attention in the classroom and perhaps engage more shy students to speak?
12.  Who and what: African Americans primarily in larger groups, may be mixed in age bringing along younger siblings.
Now what? Family togetherness is important to African Americans and Latinos.  Their family values may not encourage individuality and autonomy as many white families might.
13.  Who and what: All ethnicities appear to favor Monster energy drinks.
Now what? Is this a fad?  or do teens really feel they need the extra energy?  Are they getting enough sleep?  I know that sleep is very important for developing teens and they need a lot of it.  I also know that their circadian rythems (body clocks) are not geared to wake up early in the morning and are geared more towards being awake late in the evening.  Odd that schools do not take this into consideration with early starting hours...
14.  Who and what: Some families are mixed races.
15.  Who and what: Adolescents were with families more during the early part of the afternoon; late afternoon and early evening, they were without parents much more
16.  Who and what: Several teens worked at clothing stores or restaurants; girls mostly at clothing stores.

State of MI
African American

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